Scottie Simmonds

OUR SAY: Corporate muscle flexed

THE power of corporate muscle in the planning space has been thrown clearly into the spotlight by Bunnings' ongoing efforts to establish a store on the entrance to Coolum.

The hardware giant already controls the Sunshine Coast market, in the process squeezing out countless small businesses, all of which employed people.

It is now appealing the Sunshine Coast Council decision to refuse two previous applications for stores of varying sizes at the same time it has lodged a third application at a smaller scale.

The planning scheme and the community have long made clear development of the type proposed by Bunnings is not wanted as an entry statement to Coolum, as a visual deviation from the natural amenity on the edge of Sunshine Motorway, as a neighbour to Coolum State School nor as a competitor to the town's business centre.

In the face of persistent opposition to its proposal over a decade the Wesfarmers subsidiary has persisted. It has the money and the muscle to play a long game and is clearly prepared to test both the resolve of Sunshine Coast Council and the letter of the law in the Planning Court to achieve its own ends.

What is being witnessed at Coolum is the absolute determination of a business, which already includes 210 warehouse stores, 67 in smaller format and 36 trade centres, to further expand its market share.

Whether or not that makes for a good corporate citizen regardless of its promise to create 70 jobs appears ultimately a decision its customers will need to make.